Eraser Stamped Sheep

We recently re-read a favorite picture book, The Dot, by Peter H. Reynolds, which had us thinking about other ways to make art from just dots. This sweet craft is easy enough for toddlers to follow along, and felt just right for springtime and baby lamb season!

To start, I set out a plate of white paint, along with a few sheets of construction paper and pencils. I handed Veronika one of the pencils and showed her how to dip just the eraser end in the paint, then dot on the paper.

White dots!

Veronika had fun simply experimenting at first, but then I showed her that if she clustered a few of those white dots together, it began to look like a woolly sheep. She loved seeing the little animals take form.

Of course she couldn’t control her dots exactly, which I wouldn’t have expected from a two year old. Anywhere that gaps needed filling, I added a few extra dots to make the sheep. That meant sometimes we had big mommy sheep, and sometimes baby lambs.

Once the glue dries, just add an eye and four legs for each sheep with black marker.

We loved the ways these looked once we cut them out in individual circles, resulting in a whole little flock.

Paper Plate Sheep Mask

Veronika recently made a woolly sheep from cotton balls, to celebrate March “going out like a lamb”. She loved the fluffy cotton balls so much that we followed up with another sheep craft today. This time, she got to be the sheep at the end!

To start, I cut the center from a paper plate and then added lots of glue around the rim. Veronika immediately began to place cotton balls all over the glue, and loved playing with extras, too!

We let the mask dry, then I cut two ears from sturdy white paper and attached with tape.

Baa baa,” said my little sheep. If you’re able, follow up with a visit to a local farm to see spring’s lambs!

Bunny Tail Pom Pom Painting

Bunnies have those adorable cotton ball tails that kids just love. Today, we painted with the “tails” to make the rest of the bunny, thanks to this cute idea from The House of Burke.

To start, I clipped a few small clothespins onto white pom poms, and set these out for Veronika, along with a plate of black paint. For preschoolers, challenge them to hone their fine motor skills and get the clothespins onto the pom poms solo.

For Veronika, the activity was more about the fun of dipping the “bunny tail” in the paint and dotting onto thick white paper. She also liked dotting two “tails” together!

Little did she know that there was a surprise in store for her once the paper was painted; we were about to turn it into a full bunny head! Let the paint dry, then cut out shapes for the bunny’s head and ears, and glue these down on a construction paper background.

A final pom pom makes the bunny’s nose. Glue down wiggle eyes and add a few details with marker, and this bunny is ready to hop into spring!

Coffee Filter Bunny

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Easter comes early this year (April 4), which means Veronika and I are turning our attention to all things Easter crafts even though it’s still March. This adorable bunny craft was a great one to make as we talked about the Easter bunny.

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To start, set out white coffee filters and let your toddler decorate with dot markers. These are perfect for toddlers because the bright bold colors appear with just a little tap.

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While she was dotting, I traced bunny shapes onto brown cardstock. You’ll need a circle with two long ears for the bunny’s head, as well as four ovals for paws.

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Veronika loved seeing the design once it was laid out against white paper. “He has paws!” she said with delight. She helped use a glue stick to secure the little bunny down.

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Draw on a few final features and your Easter bunny is ready to hop! I did this part for Veronika, but preschoolers can use markers to make color on the faces and ears by themselves.

Tissue Paper Baby Chick

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Our fun with spring chicks continues, and Veronika has loved exploring the different materials from our craft bin as we make each version to mark the season. This time, she got to have fun with tissue paper!

First, you’ll need lots of squares of yellow tissue paper. You can invite your child to help rip up pieces, or preschoolers can use the opportunity for scissor practice instead. Next, I traced a circle onto white paper and cut out, and then Veronika helped smear it with a glue stick.

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All she had to do was cover it with tissue paper. This is such a forgiving material for toddlers, since it takes very little glue to make tissue paper stick. In short order, we had a fluffy yellow chick.

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To make the legs, twist a small piece of orange pipe cleaner around a larger piece of pipe cleaner, such that it forms three toes.

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All that was left to do was to glue down two wiggle eyes and an orange paper beak.

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Contact Paper Chick

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We already have one cute spring chick up on our doorway to celebrate the season, and here was a second toddler-friendly version to join the first!

To start, I cut out a piece of contact paper in roughly the shape of an Easter egg, then taped it down to a piece of white paper with double-sided tape. The sticky side of the contact paper should be facing up.

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Next I set out a tray full of feathers for Veronika. All yellow would have been ideal for a chick, but we had a mix of reds, yellows, and oranges, which worked just as well.

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She loved picking which feather to use, plus the discovery that the contact paper was sticky and grabbed on to the delicate feathers.

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Once the egg shape was filled in, we transformed it into a chick with just a few final details: Two wiggle eyes, a beak cut from colored paper, and two legs drawn on with orange marker. Peep peep!

Egg Carton Animal Portraits

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We spotted this adorable idea for animal “portraits” on artist Nylah Khan’s Instagram, and had to try our hand at the craft. Bonus points: I found Easter decorations that came in an egg carton, meaning there was no need to purchase a chicken’s egg carton.

I cut apart the segments of the carton and each one could now be the face of a separate animal. Paint accordingly! You can plan ahead and choose your colors (i.e. pink for pigs), or just let your child choose the colors and see what animals match up. We ended up with one pink face and one yellow.

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I used hot glue to secure these segments to a rectangle of cardboard as a background. Now paint on more features! If you want to get silly, add a human body for the animal. My “pig” was wearing a pink suit and blue tie, as an example for Veronika to follow.

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Veronika loved painting features on the yellow one, telling me she was adding eyes and more. I let her painting dictate the direction this particular creature went.

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A long streak of yellow paint made it look like a giraffe!

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Once the paint dried, we hung these up for an art gallery in the playroom. I loved that one of these creations was purely a toddler’s, while the other hewed closer to Khan’s original portrait idea.

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What animals will your child make? Please share in the comments!

Paper Plate Chick

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Spring is in the air, which always has us thinking of baby animals, especially little yellow chicks! This particular chick craft doubles as a handprint memento of your toddler.

To start, I squirted yellow fingerpaint into a cup and Veronika helped paint a paper plate. “I’m painting!” she said so proudly.

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Imagine her surprise when I took a paintbrush and painted some of that yellow right onto her palm. Press down onto white paper and repeat with the other hand. “I left a paw print!” she said, referencing her current favorite show, Blue’s Clues.

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Let the paint dry, then cut the handprints out and use tape or glue to attach to either side of the paper plate, forming the wings. I taped a few feathers onto the back of the plate, as well, so they would stick up from the top.

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Only a few final details were needed now: a little scrap of feather for a beak, two wiggle eyes, and orange marker for legs.

Sticky Sheep

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In like a lion, out like a lamb, or so the saying goes, and this adage of March has certainly been true this year. Needless to say we’re looking forward to the docile lamb weather to come. While we wait, Veronika and I decided to make our own woolly lamb inside! This activity combines farm animal play with tactile play in a very cute way. First, I printed out the face and leg templates for a sheep found at No Time for Flash Cards.

Next, I cut out almost a cloud shape from a large piece of contact paper, then attached this to the wall with clear tape and peeled off the backing. If you have white paper that is large enough, you could place the contact paper on the white paper such that you’re left with a white rim.

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Attach the head and legs, and your sheep is ready. I brought Veronika over and immediately she said “baa baa” to the sheep. I invited her to touch the contact paper, so she would realize it was sticky.

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Now, I told her that the sheep was cold and we needed to help him find his wool! I set out a tray of cotton balls, and she immediately got to work. She was so proud that she could help the sheep: “We’re making him so woolly!” she exclaimed.

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Once or twice she tried to stick a cotton ball on the wall where there was no contact paper and was so surprised when the cotton fell to the floor. This was a very teachable moment, and she realized she needed to stay within the lines of the contact paper.

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She proved remarkably adept at finding even tiny holes that needed to be filled with cotton until we had one very woolly sheep. “It’s like stickers!” she said with delight at the way that the cotton balls stayed on.

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When your toddler is done, you’ll have an adorable (and tactile!) piece of artwork on the wall. We plan to keep this up until March goes out like a lamb.

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Cat Games, 5 Ways

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On some cold winter days, it’s not just the human kids who get cabin-fever, but our four-legged kids, too! To wit, we came up with five ways the cat and kids could play together today, meaning everyone was entertained (for a little while at least!)

Fishing for Feathers

For this first game, I rigged up a homemade version of a classic cat “fishing rod” using materials from our craft bin. Tie a few craft feathers together with string, then loop the other end of the string around a dowel and secure with tape.

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I showed the kids how to dangle these “birds” for the cat.

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At first he seemed surprised to be the center of attention, but soon he was batting at the feathers with excitement. Clearly the kids thought it was a riot!

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Laser Tag

This second game is strictly for kids who are old enough to understand that a laser pointer never gets pointed into anyone’s eyes, whether human or feline. Travis absolutely loved wiggling the dot of our laser pointer for the cat (it makes him go wild!).

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Veronika, meanwhile, got to watch and laugh at the show!

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Sock It to Me

Forget the cat ball toys you can buy at the store; rolled up socks make instant balls for zero cost! Veronika in particular loved rolling a few homemade sock balls to the cat and back again. “Here’s a sock!” she would say each time.

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If you have fresh catnip, you could even sprinkle some in the socks, first. Then we tried a variation where I tied a long string around each sock. The cat loved pouncing after these if we dragged them on the floor, or batting at them if they were dangled in the air.

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Kitty Soccer

Our cat loves to play “soccer” with crinkly Mylar balls, so today we tested out a few other “soccer” toys. Great options for batting around include spring toys (try the Thin Colorful Springs from Ethical Pet) or even just a ball of crumpled paper. Gooooaaaaal!

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Two-Toy Tango

Finally, we got extra silly. I gave the kids one toy cat mouse and had them pretend to be cats, pouncing on it or batting it around with their “paws”.

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The cat received a second mouse so he could play right alongside my little humans. It’s highly debatable who had more fun with all these games, the two-legged kids or the four-legged one. Needless to say, the cat took a nice long cat nap after.

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